NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — When kids are fed, they are equipped to learn, grow, and reach their full potential, and this summer was the largest in the history of the Great Plains Food Bank Youth Summer Meals Program.

According to a news release, there were 14 operating locations throughout the state, and the youth summer meals program provided over 23,000 meals for kids in need.

This is an increase of nearly 18,000 from last year, which was only 5,402 meals.

“Children will always be a high priority for us in the work we do,” said Jenae Meske, who is the Great Plains Food Bank Child & Senior Program manager. “Children don’t choose their circumstances and we always strive to offer the best programs we can to feed children in need. I want to thank all the champions in each community that helped make this our best summer ever for youth summer meals.”

The program was created to offer a supplement for kids who rely on school lunch and breakfast programs during the summer months.

Volunteers in each community identify locations throughout the state and then host feeding sites.

Food was purchased by the Great Plains Food Bank from JA Foods, along with utilizing donated and purchased milk.

Locations for this summer included Cannon Ball, Dickinson, Elgin, Enderlin, Fargo, Jamestown, West Fargo, and Williston.

The youth summer meals program is one of three programs the Great Plains Food Bank offers to combat childhood hunger, the other two are a backpack program and a school pantry program.

You can learn more about the Great Plains Food Bank here.